Finished school, uni or just in need of a break from adulting? Well you are not alone. More and more people are opting to take a years sabbatical, a “Gap Year” to experience a little of the world and for us snow lovers, there are few things better than heading to the mountains to spend a season shredding, making friends and dancing on tables at apres ski.
There are, of course, the famous resorts that first spring to mind, Val D’Isere, Tignes, Val Thorens, Verbier, St Anton etc and while all these resorts can guarantee you an epic time, a winter you will not surely forget, there are some smaller resorts that offer an incredible experience, balanced against cost of living, accommodation, job availability and overall accessibility. We thought we would spread the knowledge and the love and tell you about just 3 of our perhaps, not-so-secret seasonnaire hotspots.
Cervinia is becoming more and more popular with the seasonnaire community continuing to grow season on season. For a resort that used to be just 50 or 60 non-local seasonnaires, now had more than 200 BUT with a number like that, the community it tight knit. It’s a romantic way to spend your season, hanging with a big group of friends, not only the people you work with but also people from other other companies. Ski together, boogie together and leave with friends for life. Cervinia has 2 other major incentives aside from the sense of community, first up being the cost. You can ski one of the world’s most famous ski resorts, “Zermatt”, enjoy the perfect piste, the diverse off piste and the sheer magnitude of the 360km available while paying Italian prices. There is something rather charming about skiing in Zermatt, under the iconic Matterhorn then returning to Italy to have that refreshing apres beer for half the price. Lastly, the Italian charm, hospitality and culture. Sadly some towns, particularly on the french side have lost their quintessentially french quality but Cervinia has retained it’s Italian-ness. The food is next level, the local wines and incredible and as a seasonnaire, you get to know the locals and feel part of the woodwork. The season is really long in Cervinia which is great news (It’s on a glacier), opening weekend is always the last week of October and runs until the first weekend in May! Plus, THE MATTERHORN, Enough said!
Ps, look out for the “Zermatt Rosso” ski pass with, although it comes with a huge price tag, it includes 3 countries, unlimited skiing in Cervinia, Zermatt, La Thuile, Courmayeur, Champoluc, Gressoney AND La Rosiere, It also offer 6 days in Verbier.
If you love to ride powder then Engleberg should be at the top of your list. There are so many reasons why Engelberg is a wonderful spot for both seasonnaires as tourists alike, the kind of place you will LOVE spending 5 or 6 months but also your mum will love it when she comes to visit. The town is picture postcard perfect, chocolate box chalets, wooden beams, really dreamy. You also have Lucern only 40 minutes away so if you start to get a little cabin fever, you can explore one of Switzerland’s towns that is a true hidden gem. It’s also so close to Zurich which is yet another captivating Swiss city. This makes for a great opportunity to explore a country, many of us only know for chocolate and a tragic lack of beaches- Switzerland has so much to offer. Engelberg has been drawing in a dedicated and committed seasonnaire crowd for some time now, mainly Scandis who have powder in their blood, with this being the case, the seasonnaire crowd is small and welcoming. You will surely find someone to ride with if you don’t roll with a crew, you can find your feet, or rather your powder skis. The lift pass is also comparatively cheap, which is good news when off-set against accommodation which is of course much more expensive than our first Italian suggestion! This season Engelberg has been pounded with snow, with many riders already riding that champagne like snow before December hit. The season runs until Mid April.
Another incredible glacier resort that offers an insanely long and generous snow season. Austria has had a super stable track record with snow, with the Glacier resorts around Zell offering great skiing from the October. The season pass is a total bargain, the super ski pass priced at €595 (at the time of writing) meaning you get 6 full months of skiing for next to nothing! Once again the accommodation is more expensive than Italy BUT join forces with some old friends or make new ones and bunk down with between 4 and 6 people to spread the cost more effectively.
If you love to ride park, then this is the resort for you, surrounded by some world famous park resorts included on the Zell Am See ski pass, you will be able to brush shoulders with some of the globes best freestylers! The park is impeccably groomed with a dedicated staff ensuring your line is perfect every time. There is also a world class pipe to shred too, so if you dare, try your hand and show your mates your new skills! Not only is the park guaranteed snow at an elevation of 3000m but the whole resort is snow sure.
Kitzsteinhorn offers a really eclectic mix of nationalities too, with seasonnaires from all over the world, making for a wonderful atmosphere. When grabbing a beer or hitting the slopes you will hear everything from Spanish to German to Russian and much more. Maybe you will find yourself buddy-ing up and spending the summer somewhere cool and exotic.
There are just 3 of our suggestions; but many people doing a season are of the same mindset, meaning friendly, open and welcoming, feel free to search for seasonnaire pages on Facebook and Instagram, message and comment and ask for help, that way you can get insider knowledge, save pennies and have the best season ever. We would LOVE to hear your season stories, where have you done seasons before? Have you heard amazing stories and what advice do you have for others looking to pack up and head for the mountains for the winter? Let us know.
Link to the brand of the clothes the awesome people use on the snow pictures: Dope
Hey, I’m Angelica A Pro Freerider and content producer. I love to write about adventures, inspire people to get outside and discover. Lover of big mountain snowboarding, wine and dogs!